A surgical team in an operating theater working to amputate an accident victim.Losing a limb, or part of a limb, can be a devastating experience that can compromise your ability to do your job, enjoy your hobbies, or perform everyday tasks in your home. In many cases, the injured person may be overwhelmed by medical bills and lost or reduced income, quickly leading to financial challenges.

If the amputation was necessary due to another party’s negligence, you may be able to seek compensation for these losses.

What Can a Bridgeport Amputation Attorney Do to Help?

If you or a loved one has suffered an amputation, you may be struggling with what to do about medical bills and associated expenses. Or, you might simply wonder what happened.

Was the injury someone else’s fault or an unavoidable accident? Is there a negligent party who should be held responsible?

Your amputation attorney can help you find answers to these questions. We’ll investigate the circumstances that led to your amputation, determine all liable parties (there may be more than one), and explain your options for recovering your damages.

What Damages Can You Seek in an Amputation Injury Case?

Once we’ve established there is evidence of negligence, we’ll go over the potential damages in your case. This is an essential step because it allows us to ensure we pursue the total value of your claim.

In many cases, the insurance company might offer less than your claim is worth, so it’s crucial to begin with a fair amount in mind.

Here are some damages we’ll discuss:

  • Medical bills and related expenses. Your initial surgery and hospital stay could cost tens of thousands of dollars, and most health insurance policies will only cover some of these charges. Copays and deductibles can add up to thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs, and then you will likely need physical or occupational therapy to help you learn how to do everyday activities differently. These sessions can be invaluable but may not be fully covered by insurance either. Finally, there could be out-of-pocket costs for a prosthetic limb—and remember, prosthetics don’t last forever. A prosthetic leg, for instance, lasts about three to five years on average and then needs to be replaced. We’ll be sure to seek compensation for these future costs as well.
  • Lost income and reduced earning potential. Recovering from a limb amputation takes time. Before returning to work, you may need to re-learn how to walk or perform other tasks, which can last weeks or months. If your job is very physically demanding, you might not be able to return at all. Some amputees have to find a different line of work that may not pay well or offer as many benefits. Even when you do return to work, chronic pain or other difficulties could interfere with your job. We will review your pay stubs to determine how much time you lost at work—both paid and unpaid time off—and discuss how your future earning potential has been affected.
  • Permanent disability. Most amputations result in some reduction in quality of life, although how much of a reduction is highly variable. We’ll ask how your injury affected your life to determine how much compensation you seek.
  • Pain and suffering. The initial injury, surgery, and post-operative physical therapy can all result in severe physical pain. For some amputees, this pain is eventually resolved. However, others may have chronic pain around the amputation area or may develop pain in other areas of the body as they compensate for the limb loss. Many amputees are plagued by Phantom Limb Pain, which can be challenging to treat. Additionally, the accident that caused the amputation could result in anxiety, insomnia, or symptoms of PTSD.

Do All Amputation Cases Involve Accidents?

Accidents, and in particular, car accidents, are prevalent reasons for limb amputations. However, not all amputation cases are about accidents.

Sometimes, we see medical malpractice cases in which a doctor or healthcare worker made an error that resulted in the patient losing a limb. This could happen in a direct way—for instance, a doctor operating on the wrong patient and amputating a healthy limb.

It could also occur because the doctor misdiagnosed a patient, and by the time they were correctly diagnosed, the disease had advanced to a point where amputation was necessary.

What if Your Amputation Was Caused by an Accident at Work?

Workers’ Compensation usually covers workplace accident claims. With few exceptions, most businesses in the state must have Workers’ Compensation insurance for all part-time, full-time, and seasonal employees.

It’s essential to notify your employer in writing as soon as possible after your injury—even if you assume everyone at work must have heard about such a severe accident.

In order to make the claims process easier, be sure to keep a copy of your notification so you can prove you provided notice if necessary. Sending an email from a personal account is an excellent way to ensure you have a record of your notification.

With any Workers’ Compensation claim, you must file a Form 30C with the Workers’ Compensation Commission to let them know you’ll seek benefits. Your lawyer can help answer your questions and assist you with any difficulties in filing this form.

What if Your Workers’ Compensation Claim Is Denied?

There are a number of reasons why Workers’ Comp claims are denied. Some claims are rejected because the insurance company believes the employee isn’t really hurt or exaggerated their injury, but this is a tough argument to make when the injured person has lost a limb.

Other claims may be rejected because the insurer, the employer, or both believe the accident did not happen at work. When a limb is amputated or severely damaged on the job, there are often witnesses or other types of evidence we can use to prove your claim.

Workers’ Compensation claims can’t be rejected on the basis of fault but can be rejected if the employee was intoxicated at work, engaging in horseplay, or intentionally injured themselves. If the insurance company uses any of these reasons for a denial, please contact a lawyer immediately.

We’ll find evidence and build a case showing your accidental injury.

What Does Workers’ Compensation Cover in Connecticut?

We may be able to help you seek the following benefits related to your amputation:

  • Medical care related to your amputation. In some cases, you can choose your own doctor unless the employer has created a group of physicians for this purpose, but you may need to see their approved doctor first. In an emergency situation, which many amputations are, you can go straight to the emergency room to deal with your injury. However, your employer may require you to see a physician of their choosing later. If you need to select a new doctor, inform your lawyer because you must notify the Commission of this change.
  • Temporary total disability, or TTD, is when you cannot work at all. This is 75 percent of your average weekly pay.
  • Temporary partial disability covers you if you cannot perform specific kinds of work. You must, however, perform your duties if your employer can provide work that fits your limitations.
  • Permanent partial disability. You may be able to receive this benefit for a permanent disability related to a specific body part, such as an amputated foot or hand.
  • Disfigurement or scarring, depending on what kind of amputation you had.
  • 308a benefits, which provide help with living expenses in some situations.
  • Job retraining. This is available when the injured person can’t return to their previous job but can do other kinds of work with the proper training.

Can You Get Workers’ Compensation and Sue Your Employer?

In most cases, no. While Workers’ Compensation covers fewer damages than a civil suit, it’s intended to provide medical care and other benefits without requiring a lengthy civil court process. The upside is that you don’t have to prove your employer was negligent to get your medical bills paid.

The downside is that you can’t seek other damages like pain and suffering and recover your lost income.

However, you can file a third-party claim against a person or entity whose negligence caused your injury in some situations. This has to be a third party—not your employer.

For example, if you lose your hand in a piece of defective equipment at work, we might be able to file a civil suit against the equipment manufacturer. Or, if you were hurt in a car accident while driving somewhere as part of your job, you could seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s liability insurance while also receiving Workers’ Compensation.

How Can You Learn More From a Bridgeport Amputation Law Firm?

Please contact Bert McDowell Injury Law for a free consultation about your amputation injury. We’ll answer your questions and discuss your options for recovering damages.

There is no obligation; if we take your case, you won’t owe us anything until we win or settle it.

Bert McDowell Jr. is an experienced trial attorney who assists clients with various Bridgeport personal injury cases. You may have seen him in 40 Under 40 Connecticut Magazine or National Trial Lawyers Top 40 Under 40.

Additionally, he has been a Super Lawyers Rising Star for four consecutive years. When he’s not working on a case, he’s dedicated to community service and serves on multiple nonprofit boards.

In 2017, he received the 100 Men of Color Award for his community service work, and in 2019, he was given the Man of Excellence Award. Start working on your claim by calling Bert McDowell Injury Law today at (203) 590-9169.